HISTORY OF THE 29TH (WORCESTERSHIRE) REGIMENT
by H. Everard
On the 4th of January, 1776, orders were received for the regiment, "strength, 1 lieut.-colonel, 1 major, 8 captains, 11 lieutenants, 8 ensigns, 11 chaplain, 11 adjutant, 11 quartermaster, 1 surgeon, 11 mate, 642 non-commissioned officers and private men, under command of Lieut.-Col. Patrick Gordon," to be held in readiness to embark for Quebec, which the Americans, under command of General Montgomery (formerly an officer in H.M. 17th Foot), were besieging.
As it was to be augmented to the same numbers as the other regiments of foot serving in North America, two additional companies (to remain at home on recruiting service), each consisting of 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 serjeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, and 56 private men, were raised. The sum of five guineas was allowed to the recruiting officer for each approved recruit, of which the latter received three guineas, agreeable to regulation.
On the 22nd Major-General Evelyn was desired to give the necessary directions for the immediate providing of tents for the officers, and camp necessaries complete, for the men of his regiment.
List of Camp Necessaries ordered:— 12 bell tents, 12 silk camp colours, 20 drum cases, 140 tin kettles with canvas bags, 140 hand hatchets, 642 water flasks with strings, 642 havresacks, 642 knapsacks, Do powder bags.
Extra Necessaries:— Hand hatchets 140; sunks,* 22; water decks,† 22 ; forage cords, 30 ; scythes, with stones, 20.
On the 11 5th of February, Captain Bassett's company embarked at Sheerness, on board the "Dorothy" transport for conveyance to Plymouth, where, on arrival, it was to be transhipped to the "Surprise" frigate and "Martin" sloop. This company was followed a few days later by the Grenadiers, under command of Lord Petersham, and embarked at Chatham on board the "Isis" of 50 guns. Of the remaining companies some embarked at Dover, others at the N ore, or Sheerness, on board the "Lord Howe," the "Bute," the "Agnes," the "Swift," and the "Aldborough." On their way down Channel these ships experienced very bad weather, and when off Portland, on the night of the 17th of March, the "Swift " took fire and was completely burnt. Several of the soldiers and seamen were, however, got off by the boats of the other ships, but Lieut. Thos. Bernard, Ensign John Bennett, and five privates were drowned. After a very stormy passage, and having encountered much difficulty and danger from drift ice, the "Isis," "Martin," and "Surprise" met on the 2nd of May at the Isle aux Coudres, where they were again detained by contrary winds.
On the evening of the 4th, orders were received for the "Surprise" to proceed as soon as possible to Quebec, and a light breeze having sprung up, the frigate arrived the following evening within six miles of that town, but being uncertain whether the garrison still held out, it was considered advisable to anchor for the night. On the morning of the 6th, both wind and tide being favourable, the "Surprise" came in sight of Quebec, and the signal previously agreed upon having been answered, she immediately approached the town. The detachments of the 29th, and marines then disembarked, and climbed over the barricades which had been erected upon the wharf. The "Isis" and "Martin" coming up almost immediately after, also landed the troops they had on board, which brought the reinforcements up to about 300 men, and determined General Carleton to make a sortie. The two principal gates having been cleared and opened, about noon 100 of the regiment, 80 marines, and 720 of the garrison marched out upon the heights of Abraham, upon which the Americans retired towards the Sorel River, leaving all their guns in their batteries and one loaded 6-pr. brass field piece on the field. This they had attempted to spike, but had done it so badly that one of the 29th Grenadiers, partly with his fingers and partly with his teeth, soon removed the nail which had been driven into the vent. In the evening the troops returned to Quebec. Four days after this the remainder of the regiment landed, and Ensign John Enys was detached with 20 men to Cape Rouge. Shortly after this, the 47th Regiment, which had arrived from Halifax, together with the flank companies of the 29th, were ordered to march along the river to Point a Tromble. The remaining companies having embarked at Quebec, on the 22nd of May, on small transports, proceeded, under command of Lieut.-Col. Nesbit, 47th Regiment, up the St. Lawrence towards Three Rivers, and came to an anchor about two miles from that place, where the headquarters of the army under General Carleton were established.
Nothing, however, of importance occurred till the 8th of June, when, at daybreak, the Americans, wholly ignorant of the force assembled there, made an attack. Meeting with a warm reception from the flank companies of the 9th, 21st, 24th, 29th, 31st, 47th, 53rd, and 62nd regiments, they retired into the woods. In the meanwhile the troops were landed from the ships, and, having taken post at the bridge over the River Machiche, cut off the enemy's retreat. Early next morning many of the rebels surrendered, amongst others General Thompson, and Colonel Irwin the second in command. After this the troops returned to Three Rivers, and their vessels respectively, but being detained by bad weather, it was not till the 13th that they were able to proceed towards Sorel, a strong post, where it was thought the enemy would make a stand; but when, the following afternoon, this place was reached, it was found that the enemy had evacuated it, and retired to Forts Chambly and St. Johns.
The Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the army were therefore immediately landed, and ordered to pursue them up either side of the river, the main body taking the same route as fast as the troops came up. The 29th however, and some other troops remained on board their ships, and proceeded towards Montreal. When within 30 miles of that town, information was received of its evacuation. On account of the unfavourable state of the weather, it was deemed best to land the troops and march thither.
They had not been long in the town when a very strange noise was heard. This was found to proceed from a party of Loyalists and Indians, who, with Sir John Johnson, had arrived from his estate on the Mohawk River. On their way they had defeated a party of the enemy at the Cedars, and captured a brass 6-pr., which they brought with them. Everyone was much surprised and amused at the arrival, and dress of this new kind of force. The Indians consisted of about zoo very fine young men, all highly painted. The dress of the Loyalists was nothing more than their ordinary clothes, but that of Sir John Johnson was somewhat remarkable, it being made of dressed deerskins, and fitted him as tight as his skin. In his hand he carried a tomahawk, and on his breast hung a scalping knife, whilst the skin of a rattlesnake was twisted round his hat, with the rattle in front.
After burning both Chambly, and St. Johns, the Americans embarked for Lake Champlain. The want of boats rendering further pursuit for the present impossible, the army encamped near St. John's, the advance corps at Isle aux Noix, and the 29th at Montreal. On the 3rd of July 4 companies marched to La Chine, whence all stores for Upper Canada were embarked.
On the 25th of July Brigadier Patrick Gordon, "having been to see Lord Petersham, who, with the 29th Grenadiers, was stationed at St. Johns," was passing through a small wood on his way back to his quarters at La Prairie, when he was shot at and severely wounded by Lieut. Whitcombe, of the Connecticut Rangers, who had offered his services to venture through the wood and bring in prisoner, an English officer. For this purpose he had stationed himself among the thickest copses situated between La Prairie and St. Johns. The first officer who chanced to pass was the brigadier. He was mounted on a high-spirited horse, and Whitcombe, thinking there was little probability of seizing him, fired at and wounded him, two balls entering the shoulder. Colonel Gordon, however, did not lose his seat, and the horse setting off at a gallop, brought him to the first settlement, where he was discovered, nearly insensible, by an officer's servant, who, taking him off his saddle, conveyed him in a cart to the quarters of Lieut. Hepburne, 21st Regiment, where every attention was paid him. After suffering extreme agony, Colonel Gordon died on the 1st of August. When Whitcombe returned to Ticonderoga and informed General St. Clair, who commanded there, how he had acted, the latter expressed his disapprobation in the highest terms, and was so displeased at the transaction that Whitcombe again offered his services, professing he would forfeit his life if he did not return with a prisoner.
On the 29th of August, Bt.-Major Thos. Carleton, of the 20th Foot, was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the 29th, vice Gordon, whose brigade was ordered to be broken up. The 29th, for the remainder of the campaign, was attached to the headquarters of the army. Early in September the regiment left Montreal, and joined the camp at St. Johns.
It was about this time that Whitcombe, accompanied by two other men, proceeded down Lake Champlain in a canoe to a small creek, where, having secreted the boat, they repaired to the same spot where Brigadier Gordon had been shot. The two men then concealed themselves a little way in the wood, whilst Whitcombe skulked about.
Quartermaster Alex. Saunders, having occasion to get some stores from Montreal, was going from the camp to procure them. On account of the late outrage, he was advised not to take the road, but to go by way of Chambly. Being a man of great personal courage, he resolved not to go so many miles out of his way, for any Whitcombe whatever. He jocosely added that he would "be very glad to meet him, as he was sure he should get the reward which had been offered for that individual's apprehension!"
Previous to setting out he took every precaution, having not only loaded his fusee, but charged a brace of pistols. On approaching the woods he was very cautious, but in an instant Whitcombe and the two men, springing from behind a thick bush, seized him before he could make the least resistance, deprived him of his weapons, tied his arms behind him, blindfolded him, and marched him off.
Four days after this they arrived at Ticonderoga, when Saunders was brought before the General, who, failing either by threat or entreaties to gain any information relative to the British troops, ordered him as prisoner of war on his parole to some of the interior towns.
On the 6th of September, a detachment, under command of Ensign J. Enys, consisting of 2 ensigns, 2 serjeants, 82 rank and file, which had been trained to big gun drill, embarked on board the "Thunderer," as additional gunners, and as such they served during the campaign.
About the same time, three companies, with Captains Campbell and Dickson, Lieut. Alexr. Mall, Ensigns F. W. Farquhar and J. Williamson, embarked on board the "Inflexible," whilst the remainder of the regiment was put on board the "Carleton" schooner, and the gunboats, of which there were 21. This flotilla, which assembled at Point au Fer on the 10th of October, was destined to operate against the enemy on Lake Champlain.
It being ascertained that the enemy's fleet was anchored higher up the lake, at daybreak of the 11th, the flotilla advanced, and about noon arrived at Valcore Island, where the Americans were found. The early part of the action which ensued was confined to the "Carleton" schooner, and the gunboats which were a good deal knocked about; but on the arrival of the "Inflexible" and the "Maria," the result was no longer doubtful.
In the course of this day the following casualties occurred in the regiment: On board the "Carleton," 11 drummer and 6 privates killed; 2 privates wounded. A private, also, was wounded on board one of the gunboats. During the night, the enemy, aided by their accurate knowledge of the lake, and the great darkness that prevailed, passed undiscovered between the fleet and some high land on the main, and effected their escape. It was not till the 13th, that the British fleet again sighted them and renewed the action, when Arnold¥ ran his vessels aground, and setting fire to them, escaped with his men to the woods. General Waterbury, the second in command, on the contrary, continued for some time to oppose his vessel, the "Washington," which carried very heavy metal, to the "Maria," but on receiving a broadside from the "Inflexible," struck his colours ; whereupon Capt. Campbell was sent on board to receive the brigadier's sword, and conduct him to Sir Guy Carleton. A sloop was also captured, but the remainder, having lightened themselves by throwing their guns overboard, escaped, but were captured the following year near Ticonderoga.
In this day's action a few of the regiment were wounded, but none killed.
On the 14th, the fleet anchored off Crown Point, when Captain Campbell was ordered to land his detachment, and take possession of the old works of Fort Frederick. The British colours were then hoisted on a temporary flagstaff, and the men, expecting at any moment to be attacked by General Gage, lay on their arms for three nights.
The advanced brigade, consisting of Royal Artillery, the 24th Foot, and the remainder of the 29th, arrived soon after, and encamped, as did the 1st brigade, at Chimney Point. The 29th, however, was detailed to cover the head quarter staff, and furnish the commander-in-chief s guard at Crown Point.
Winter now set in with great severity, and there being no accommodation for the army, Sir Guy Carleton decided to defer the attack on the enemy's lines at Ticonderoga, where they were strongly posted, till the ensuing spring. Accordingly, on the 2nd of November, the troops re-embarked and sailed for Canada; but the "Inflexible" remained at Crown Point, a few days, to prevent the enemy harassing the troops on their passage down the lake. On reaching Fort St. John, Captain Campbell's detachment landed and marched to Montreal, to rejoin the regiment, which, with the head quarters of the army, was stationed there.
The Grenadier company, under Lord Petersham, took up quarters at Verchere.
On the 12th of August, Lieut. Gawen Vaughan having embarked at Gravesend on board the "Maria" transport, with a detachment of the 15th, 24th, 29th, 33rd, 53rd, and 62nd regiments, proceeded to Cork, where, with the above details, he was tranferred to the "Nottingham," armed ship, and reached Halifax, Nova Scotia, early in December. Instead of proceeding to join his regiment at Montreal, he was, on the 20th, ordered to re-embark on board the "Lark" for New York, which had been captured in September. On arrival there, he was by General Sir W. Howe's orders, attached to the 7th Fusiliers, till the 7th of April following, when he embarked on board the "Integrity," and shortly after arrived at Halifax, where, by order of Brigadier McLean, he was again transferred to the "Nottingham." It was not till the 2nd of June, 1777, that he landed and proceeded to join the head quarters of the 29th.
All the clothing of the regiment which was shipped on board the "Mellish" transport, in August, 1776, was taken by the rebels.
By the Monthly Returns it appears that Mr. George Turner, the regimental chaplain, proceeded on King's leave the 21st of June, 1776, and that he remained so absent till the 24th of June, 1794. Lord Cathcart, writing in 1790, says: "Our chaplain is head of a college at Oxford, with 5s. a day ; 2s. 6d. is deducted from him when any man is appointed to do his duty; which I think very essential."
On the 13th of March, 1777, General Sir G. Carleton reviewed the regiment on the ice at Montreal.
After the troops had repassed Lake Champlain, a considerable number of insurgents, finding their presence no longer necessary near Ticonderoga, joined the American forces in the Provinces of New York, and Jersey, and broke in, with some degree of success, upon the winter quarters of Sir W. Howe's troops. Upon this account, and with a view of quelling the rebellion as soon as possible, it was decided to send two expeditions from Canada the following spring, one, under Lieut.-General Burgoyne, to force its way to Albany, the other, under Lieut.-Colonel St. Leger, to make a diversion on the Mohawk River.
Orders,‡ fully as imperative as those sent to General Burgoyne, were to have been sent to Sir W. Howe (who was to have advanced and co-operated with the expedition from Canada), but owing to the carelessness of Lord George Germain, who preferred going to a good dinner in Kent to waiting for a few moments to attach his signature, they were pigeon-holed in London, where they were found, after the Convention of Saratoga, carefully docketed, and only wanting the minister's signature.
In the approaching operations under General Burgoyne, the Grenadier and Light Infantry companies of the 29th Foot, formed part of the advance corps under Brigadier-General Fraser, of the 24th Regiment.
The battalion companies, leaving Montreal on the 19th of June, encamped near Ste. Therese, and detaching two companies to Chambly, were employed during the campaign in assisting to forward stores of all kinds for the expeditionary force.
EXPEDITION FROM CANADA.
On the 17th of May, General Burgoyne assumed the command of the army.
The officers of the 29th employed with this force were:—
|| Captain Archibald Campbell
Captain Chas. Visct. Petersham
Captain Nich. Aylward Vigors
Lieut. Thomas Steele
Lieut. James Battersby
Lieut. Charles Williams
Lieut. Sewell Maunsell
Lieut. James Douglas
Ensign Fra. Wm. Farquhar
Ensign William Johnson
Ensign James Dowling, appointed from 47th Foot on death of Lieut. Douglas.
| Commissary of Musters.
Light Infantry Company.
Light Infantry Company.
Light Infantry Company.
The troops having encamped at Crown Point, remained there a few days in order to establish magazines, hospitals, &c. On the 30th of June, the advance corps, under General Fraser, moved from its camp at Putman Creek, and advanced up the west side of Lake Champlain, to Four Mile Point, whilst the German reserve advanced along the east.
The Grenadier battalion was commanded by Major Ackland, of the 20th; the Light Infantry, by the Earl of Balcarras, 53rd Foot.
The following day the whole army made a forward movement, the naval force keeping in the centre. By the 3rd of July, Mount Hope, which lay to the north of the old French lines at Ticonderoga, was occupied in force by General Fraser's brigade, and within a few days, three-fourths of the enemy's works at Ticonderoga,§ and Fort Independence were surrounded. On Sugar Loaf Hill (Mount Defiance), which had been taken possession of by the light infantry, and which completely commanded the enemy's position, and cut off their communications with Lake George, a battery was commenced. About daybreak, the 6th of July, intelligence was brought that the enemy, having previously set fire to their block houses, saw mills, and other works, were retiring. General Fraser therefore ordered the picquet to advance at once, and the brigades as soon as they were accoutred, marched down to the enemy's works. Orders were then given for the grenadiers and light infantry to pursue the enemy, who had retired in the direction of Hubberton. Having marched from 4 a.m. till 1 o'clock, in a very hot and sultry day, the troops halted to refresh themselves, after which they again moved forward to an advantageous position, where they lay on their arms for the night.
At 3 o'clock the following morning, the march was continued, and two hours later, the advance guard under Major Grant, 24th Regiment, having come up with the enemy, succeeded in forcing their picquets to retire on to the main body. The light infantry, and the 24th regiment then came into action, and the former suffered very much from the enemy's fire, particularly the companies of the 29th and 34th regiments. The grenadiers were now moved to the front, to prevent the enemy getting to the road that led to Castletown. In this they succeeded, upon which the enemy attempted to retreat by a very steep mountain to Pittford, but the grenadiers having slung their firelocks, climbed, with the aid of the branches of trees, and projecting rocks, up the side of a very steep ascent, and gained the summit before the enemy, who, notwithstanding their great losses, were still far superior in numbers to the British. Fraser's left, having met with a stubborn resistance, the issue of the contest appeared doubtful, but the arrival on that flank of General Reidesel with a large body of Germans, decided the fortune of the day, and the Americans retired, leaving their commander, many officers, and above 200 men dead upon the field. About 5 p.m., the grenadiers were ordered down to join the light infantry and the 24th. During this day's action the light company of the 29th had half its effective strength either killed or wounded.
Lieut. Douglas, whilst being carried off the field wounded, received a ball directly through his heart. Lieut. Steele was also wounded.
The sick and wounded, having to be escorted back to Ticonderoga, were left in charge of a subaltern's guard, and Fraser's brigade, marching by Castletown, rejoined the main body of the army at Skenesborough (Whitehall), on the 9th. On the 12th of July, Captain Lord Petersham was appointed Supernumerary A.D.C. to General Burgoyne, and as many officers in Fraser's brigade had been killed or wounded, Captain Campbell was given a command in the battalion of grenadiers, with which he did duty, and was present in all the subsequent actions of this campaign.
To follow up the advantages already gained, proved a difficult undertaking, for the Americans, now under command of General Schuyler, neglected no means of adding by art, to the difficulties which nature seemed to offer to the passage of Burgoyne's army. Large trees were cut down on either side of the road, so as to fall across, and lengthways with their branches interwoven. The troops had not only layers of these to remove, but also to construct more than 40 bridges, one of which was of log-work across a morass two miles in extent. By great exertions, these difficulties were overcome, and on the 30th of July, the army reached the banks of the Hudson. As the retreating enemy destroyed, or removed all stores and cattle, it was found necessary to make another halt, in order to allow of a further supply of provisions and stores being transported from Lake George to the Hudson. In the meanwhile, intelligence having been received that the enemy had established a store of provisions at Bennington, a place about 20 miles distant, a detachment, under Lieut.-Colonel Baum, was sent thither with a view of surprising it. Captain Fraser's Rangers, a company composed of 50 picked men from different regiments, amongst whom were some of the 29th, accompanied this expedition, which however did not prove successful.
A short time previous to the departure of Colonel Baum, General Fraser's brigade had passed the Hudson by a bridge of rafts, and some boats (which a few days after were washed away), and taken post on the Heights of Saratoga, but after the failure of the attack on Bennington it was recalled. On the 4th of August, the Indians, who formed part of the expedition, finding they were not allowed to plunder at their will, began to desert, whilst those nearest their homes begged permission to return to their harvest, which was granted.
On the 19th, General Gates, an Englishman by birth, and one who had served with distinction against the French in Canada, was appointed to the command of the enemy's forces. This officer, with Colonel Arnold as his second, having superseded General Schuyler, raised the whole country. By this time, provisions for about 3o days having been brought forward, and a bridge of boats completed, Burgoyne's army passed the Hudson on the 13th and 14th of September, and on the 17th encamped about 4 miles from the enemy, who were strongly fortified in the neighbourhood of Stillwater.
The passage of a great ravine, and other roads leading to their position having been reconnoitred, on the 19th, the troops advanced in 3 columns Fraser's brigade, in order to cover the right of the line, and to pass the ravine without quitting the heights, had to go some distance round, before arriving at its allotted position.
The left column, under Major Generals Phillips and Reidesel, kept to the great road, and meadows near the river, whilst the centre, led by General Burgoyne in person, passed the ravine in a direct line, and formed up in order of battle as it gained the summit. All preparations being completed, a general advance took place. The enemy in the meantime, unacquainted with the combined advance of the three columns, had moved out of their intrenchments in great force, with a view of turning Burgoyne's right. In this however, owing to the position of Fraser's brigade, they failed; whereupon they directed their attack against the British left, and being continually reinforced with fresh troops, the action became general, and was continued with great obstinacy till after sunset, when the enemy retired.
During this engagement, which is known as that of Stillwater, or Sword's House, Fraser's brigade, which remained on the heights on the right, was not so actively engaged as were the other troops, but the grenadiers and 24th were at times brought into action, as were part of the light infantry.
Darkness having rendered pursuit impracticable, the troops lay on their arms that night, and the following day took up a position nearly within cannon-shot of the enemy.
From this time till the action of the 7th of October, the outposts of General Fraser's brigade were within half a mile of those of the enemy, whilst the remainder of his troops were employed in securing their own post, and clearing the country in their front. The left of the army was now extended so as to cover the meadow through which the river flowed, and where the boats and the hospital were placed.
It was soon found that no advantages were gained by the preceding victory. The enemy's right, being unassailable, they worked with redoubled energy to strengthen their left.
It was now found necessary to- diminish the men's rations, and the Canadian Indians deserted in a body. Although thus weakened, the army continued to confront the enemy, whose numbers increased daily.
No intelligence having been received of the expected co-operation from Sir W. Howe, on the 7th of October, it was judged advisable to make a movement against the enemy's left, not only to discover whether there were any possible means of forcing a passage at that point, should it be necessary to advance, but also to cover a forage of the army, which, on account of scarcity of provisions, was then in great distress. This led to the action of Bemis Heights, or Saratoga, as it is also called. Night put an end to the fighting, but the enemy had gained an opening on Burgoyne's right, and rear.
In this day's action, the following casualties occurred amongst the officers of the 29th Foot:—
[ Lieutenant Battersby.
Wounded [ Lieutenant Dowling, doing duty with 20th Foot.
[ Lieutenant Williams.
Prisoners [ Ensign Johnson.
[ Ensign York.
After this action, the army fell back in good order, but on account of heavy rains, and the difficulty of guarding the boats which contained all the provisions, Saratoga was not reached till the night of the 9th. The enemy, who were hourly being reinforced, now pushed on, and intrenched themselves opposite all the fords. Their position, which nearly surrounded Burgoyne's army, was, from the nature of the ground, unassailable.
Under these circumstances the army took up, and fortified the best available ground, and remained there until the 13th, in anxious hope of succour, or an attack from the enemy. During this time the men, who lay continually on their arms, were cannonaded in every part, even rifle and grape shot fell into all parts of the line. At this period an exact account of the provisions was taken, and it was found that only 3 days' rations, upon short allowance, remained. Disappointed in the last hope of any timely co-operation, reduced by losses to 3,500 fighting men, not 2,000 of whom were British, a council of war, extending to all field officers, and captains commanding corps, was summoned, and the Convention of Saratoga ensued. Soon after this, Lord Petersham was sent home with dispatches, by General Burgoyne.
The sketch of Lord Petersham is taken from an oil painting, "Burial of General Fraser," at Saratoga, 8th of October, 1777, by J. Graham.
CHA. VISCT. PETERSHAM.
Captain 29th Grenadiers.
It will be observed that the officers of the 29th did not wear any lace round the button-holes of their coats. The epaulettes, shoulder belt plate, and buttons were of silver. The original picture, which is in the possession of Captain Fraser, of Balnain, was exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1791.
The British troops, which according to the Convention, were to have embarked at Boston, were detained by the Congress, under the most frivolous pretences, at Cambridge.
We find that in the summer of 1778, the Artillery and the 9th Foot, together with the flank companies of 29th, 31st, 34th, and 53rd regiments were quartered in barracks, at Rutland. The officers were allowed to go amongst their men for the purposes of roll call, and other matters of regularity. In September, 1779, they were at Charlottesville.
In the autumn of 1780, an exchange of Officers of Convention,∆ on parole in New York, or in Europe, was proposed by General Washington. This was followed soon after, by the exchange of the flank companies of the 29th, when all their men, fit for service, were drafted into the regiments at New York.
After the Convention of Saratoga, the battalion companies of the 29th Foot (which in September, 1777, had marched to St. John's to relieve the 34th, ordered to Ticonderoga), being no longer required on the line of communications, returned to Montreal, where they remained during the winter. About this time, Ensign Williamson began, and made much progress with that humorous little book which he afterwards published, under the title of "Advice to the Officers of the British Army."
"During this winter," wrote Col. Enys, "a serjeant, and 14 rank and file of the Germans, in passing from Sorel to Three Rivers, were overtaken by a snowstorm on Lake St. Peter, and subsequently found frozen to death in an upright position, with their arms in their hands."
Early the next year, the detachments left in Canada by the 6 British regiments which formed part of General Burgoyne's army, were drafted into the 8th, 29th, 34th, 53rd, and the 3 companies of the 47th regiment which had remained near Quebec.
On the 11th of September, the regiment moved to Isle-aux-Noix, the advance post on that side to New York, and relieved the Royal Highland Emigrants, who had suffered much from sickness.
On the 24th of October, an expedition under command of Major Christopher Carleton, 29th Regiment, composed of detachments of 29th, 31st, 53rd, and the Royal Regiment of New York, was ordered out to destroy the forage and stores which had been collected by the enemy on the frontier.
The detachment of the regiment was composed as follows:—
29th Regiment — 1 major, 2 captains, 5 lieutenants, 1 surgeon, 6 serjeants, 6 corporals, 2 drummers, and too privates.
29th Rangers—1 lieutenant, 1 ensign, 1 serjeant, 1 corporal, and 20 privates.
Colonel Enys, who at this time was an ensign, serving with the 29th rangers, or scouts, wrote:—
"Many of the officers at one time had so little to do, that, for want of better amusement, they played tetotum on the drumhead, from which it got the name of the "Tetotum expedition."
"It is surprising with what indifference the inhabitants saw their farms destroyed, but I cannot help taking notice of one old woman, who said not a word whilst her house and barns were burning, but soon after broke out into a most violent lamentation, for which I confess I thought she had good reason; but what was my surprize when I found the only part of her effects which caused her distress, was the loss of her tobacco pipe, and when Capt. Ross, 31st Regiment, procured her another in its place, she again appeared perfectly happy."
"During this expedition, Major Carleton used to send the men into the woods a little way, to practice `treeing' as they called it, that is to say, the manner of hiding ourselves behind the trees, stumps, &c."
"On the 30th of October, a very unlucky accident happened by one of the 29th cutting down a tree carelessly, which fell on a wigwam where there were several men sitting, by which three were hurt, and one died of his wounds the same morning."
On the following day, the expedition returned to Isle-aux-Noix, except one boat, which had on board presents from the Indians, with a serjeant and 14 privates of the 29th, a serjeant and a private of the 53rd, and which, on account of the bad weather, was thought to be lost.
On the 25th of December, the regiment was ordered to consist of 12 companies, of 3 serjeants, 4 corporals, 2 drummers, and 70 private men each.
It being found necessary that the garrisons of Isle-aux-Noix and St. John's should keep out constant scouting parties, each regiment was ordered to appoint 1 subaltern, 2 serjeants, 2 corporals, and 20 privates for that duty. These detachments received the title of "Rangers," and in January, the 29th rangers were increased to 2 subalterns, and 40 privates. With a view of sending parties across Cumberland Bay, Lieut. Walsh was sent to report on the state of the ice ; whilst Ensign R. Battersby succeeded in bringing in 6 prisoners taken at Missiqui Bay.
In November, the latter officer with 20 rangers accompanied an expedition of about 180 Indians, with an equal number of royalists and rangers, which started for Fort Edward.
About the same time, 4 companies of the regiment proceeded to St. John's, to relieve the 31st Foot, ordered to Quebec, and 3 others followed later on, leaving only one company at Isle-aux-Noix.
In May, 1780, Major Carleton received orders to endeavour to intercept scouts sent by the Americans into the Province of Quebec, and for this purpose small parties of the regiment, clothed and armed like the rebels, were dispatched in search of them.
It having been ascertained that the Americans were again collecting and storing forage on the frontier, an expedition under command of Major Carleton was ordered out to destroy it. The force, "which consisted of 968 of all ranks, was composed of detachments of 29th (1 major, 2 captains, 3 lieutenants, 2 ensigns, 5 serjeants, 5 corporals, 1 drummer, and 182 privates), 34th, 53rd, and 84th Regiments, of Chasseurs, Royalists, Royal Yorkers, Rangers, and some Mohawk Indians," left St. John's, the 28th of September. On entering Lake Champlain, the advance posts were entrusted to Bt. Major Campbell, of the 29th. On landing at the head of South Bay, the troops proceeded towards Fort Anne. Failing to surprise it, Major Carleton, at 3 a.m. the following day, ordered Lieut. Farquhar, of the 29th, with 30 British, and as many Loyalists, to cut the enemy's communication on the Fort Edward road, whilst Lieuts. Kirkman of the 29th, and Johnson of the 47th, were sent to demand its surrender. This being agreed to, the fort was set on fire, and the stock destroyed. Burning parties having been sent out on either flank, Major Carleton's force marched the following day towards Fort George, and halted that evening within 9 miles of it. The advance was continued the next morning, and when within a mile and a half of the place, a small party of Indians saw two men, who ran off and alarmed the fort. A halt was thereupon called, and a party sent forward to reconnoitre. On its being discovered that the enemy were advancing, the company of the 34th Foot, with about 25 Loyalists, was sent to support the Indians who were now engaged with the Americans. As the remainder of the expedition moved forward to take possession of Gage's Heights, several shots were fired from the fort. Advantage was now taken of a small hollow, near at hand, in which the troops formed under cover, and from whence Major Carleton sent Lieuts. Kirkman and Johnson, with a flag of truce, to summon the fort, which agreed to surrender. "During the time," wrote Col. Enys, "that the flag was there, we saw some men leading a wounded person, who we at first supposed to be an Indian, from his head looking so red and shining, but on his nearer approach found him to be one of the rebels who had been scalped. This man had not been long brought in, when some of our men recognised him as being a deserter from my party when serving with the artillery in 1776; this he at first denied, but, being questioned by a man who had formerly been his comrade, acknowledged it. Surely never poor fellow suffered more than this one did; he had one of his arms broken by a shot, a violent contusion, and three very deep tomahawk wounds at the back of his head. Notwithstanding these injuries, he lived some days, but died on board one of the ships on Lake Champlain."
Having destroyed the fort and adjacent buildings, the expedition returned by the west side of the lake, and landed at Crown Point the 15th of October.
On the 20th of November, the regiment went into winter quarters on the River Sorel, 2 companies being stationed in each of the following parishes, viz., Belloeil, St. Charles, St. Denis, and St. Antoine.
A warrant, dated 27th of July, 1781, was issued for reducing the strength of each company from 70, to 56 privates.
In September, orders were received for the formation of new flank companies; those which had served with General Burgoyne having been drafted into other regiments. The raising of these companies had scarcely been completed, when, about the middle of October, an expedition under command of Lieut.-Colonel St. Leger, 34th Foot, was ordered out on the frontier. The force was composed of the Light company of the 29th, 31st, 34th, and 44th regiments, detachments of the 29th and 34th Battalion companies, together with Royalists and Indians. Having proceeded to Ticonderoga, the Light company of the 29th, with some Royalists, was sent to Diamond Island, on Lake George, but not meeting with any of the enemy, they were ordered to rejoin the main body, which returned to St. John's on the 15th of November.
The regiment which had only awaited the return of its Light company, now crossed the St. Lawrence, and took up the following quarters:— The Grenadier, and the Colonel's company, with music, at La Chenage; the Light infantry, and 2 battalion companies, St. Henri de la Mascouche; 4 companies Terrebonne; and 1 at Mascouche le Page.
On the 22nd of February, 1782, a Warrant was issued to the Master General of Ordnance to supply the regiment with 57 stands of arms and 22 drums, with pairs of sticks, to replace those lost at Saratoga (7th Oct., 1777).
On the 6th of July, the serjeants of infantry regiments, were ordered to wear their swords over their coats, in the same manner as the private men carried their bayonets.
During this year, in order to facilitate the procuring of recruits, regiments were given County Titles, with reference to which the following order was received:—
"London, 31 August, 1782.
His Majesty having been pleased to order that the 29th Regiment, which you command, should take the county name of "The Worcestershire Regiment," and be looked upon as attached to that county, I am to acquaint you it is His Majesty's further pleasure that you should in all things conform to that idea, and endeavour, by all means in your power, to cultivate and improve that connexion, so as to create a mutual attachment between the county and the regiment ; which may at all times be useful towards recruiting the regiment. But as the compleating the several regiments now generally so deficient, is in the present crisis, of the most important national concern, you will, on this occasion, use the utmost possible execution for that purpose, by prescribing the greatest diligence to your officers and recruiting parties, and by -every suitable application to the gentlemen and considerable inhabitants ; and as nothing can so much tend to conciliate their affection as an orderly and polite behaviour towards them, and an observance of the strictest discipline in all your quarters, you will give the most positive orders on that head; and you will immediately make such a disposition of your recruiting parties as may best answer these ends.
I have the honour to be,
(Signed) H. S. CONWAY."
or the Officer Commanding
the 29th Regiment."
Captain Chas. Williams and Ensign Wm. C. Strachan are by the Muster Rolls, shown as being at Worcester from the 5th of June to the 24th December, 1782.
Had this plan been firmly and constantly adhered to, there is but little doubt that it would have answered the purpose intended. For, in the first instance, the 29th Regiment procured many very good men, who, on their joining, appeared to be very pleased with their county regiment; and it will be shown hereafter how this advantage was lost, with no fault on the part of the corps.
In August, the Regiment marched to Montreal, and thence to winter quarters at St. Johns, and Isle-aux-Noix.
In December, orders were issued to reduce the two additional companies raised seven years previously, and to augment the regiment with a recruiting company. This company, to be raised in the county of Worcester, was to consist of 6 serjeants, 8 corporals, 4 drummers, and 30 privates.
In the course of the winter a report prevailed that the Americans, under Le Marquis de Lafayette, intended to cross Lake Champlain before the ice broke up, and make an attack on Canada. In consequence of this, the Light companies of the 29th, 31st, and 53rd regiments, with a detachment of the 29th battalion companies, some Royalists, and Indians the whole under command of Major Campbell, of the 29th—advanced across the boundary line of the Province, and hutted themselves in the woods not far from Point-au-Fer. On preliminaries for a general Peace being entered upon, these companies were withdrawn, and rejoined their respective regiments.
In anticipation of peace, a reduction in the establishment of regiments took place, and all men who in 1775 had enlisted for three years, or during the war, became entitled to their discharge. Some of these received grants of land at Cataraqui, and the Bay of Chaleurs. A great number, however, re-enlisted, and thus the regiment was completed to its reduced establishment, viz., 1 colonel, 1 lieut.-colonel, 1 major, 1 chaplain, 1 adjutant, 1 quartermaster, 1 surgeon, 1 mate.
|6 Companies each of .............
|1 Company of Grenadiers ......
|1 Company of Light Infantry ...
The 9th and 10th Companies being reduced, their commissioned officers remained en seconde.
In August, on the death of Lieut.-General Wm. Evelyn, Lieut.-General Wm. Tryon, colonel of the 70th Foot, was transferred to the colonelcy of the 29th Regiment.
On the 3rd of September, definite treaties with America, France, and Spain were signed, the former at Paris, the two others at Versailles. In the Treaty with America, the 13 United States were acknowledged to be free, sovereign, and independent. France gave up her West Indian conquests, except Tobago; Spain retained Minorca and West Florida; East Florida being ceded in exchange for the Bahamas.
CAPTAIN JOHN ENYS. 1783.
A picture of Captain J. Enys, done this year, shows that the officers wore their hair clubbed (vide 11th April, 1786).
By Warrant, dated the 21st of July, 1784, it was ordered that "the whole quantity of ammunition carried by each soldier was to be 56 rounds, 32 of which were to be carried in a pouch on his right side, and 24 in a cartridge box, by way of a magazine, upon a new principle, to be worn occasionally on his left side. The flap of pouch to be plain, without any ornament,** and the bottom part of it to be rounded at the corners. The cartridge box by way of magazine, to be fixed to the bayonet belt in such a manner as to be easily taken off or put on, it not being intended to be worn except on a march or on actual service. The cross belt for the pouch, and magazine to be made of buff leather, two inches broad. The gayters to be made of black woollen cloth (instead of linen), with white metal buttons, and without stiff tops. The Grenadier swords, matches, and match cases++ to be laid aside.
The Light Company to have a small priming horn, to hold about two ounces of powder (instead of the horn, and bullet bag now in use, which are both to be laid aside). The horn, and hatchet not to be fixed to the accoutrements, but to be carried either with the knapsack, or in such other manner as the commanding officer shall think convenient. Light Company Cap to be of black leather.
In a Return of Accoutrements, dated the 20th of August, 1784, the serjeants, rank and file, both of flank, and battalion companies, were shown as being in possession of swords.
In 1785 the crime of desertion prevailed throughout the army to such a degree that orders were issued "that any man who (being regularly convicted thereof) shall by a General Court Martial be adjudged to suffer death, must expect a certain, and speedy execution of the sentence."
On the 24th of May, the regiment under command of Major Campbell (having been selected to relieve the 8th "King's"), marched from Montreal to La Chene, where it embarked for the upper posts, in the Province of Quebec; and, on landing, was stationed at the Fort of Niagara, Cataraqui, Carleton Island, and Oswego.
Brigadier-General Barry St. Leger, as a particular mark of his opinion of Major Campbell's conduct, gave that officer a Letter of Service, appointing him commandant of all the posts situated on the five great lakes, with more power and privileges than had ever been conferred on anyone prior to this.
In April, 1786, orders were issued for battalion officers to use swords, in lieu of espontoons. Both officers, and men in general, when under arms or on duty (the Fusilier Corps, Grenadier, and Light Infantry companies, when they wear their caps, excepted) were for the future to wear their hair "clubbed." The non-commissioned officers and men to have a small piece of black polished leather, by way of ornament, upon the club. The whole to wear black leather stocks.
Officers to wear black cloth gaiters, uniform with those of the men, on all duties except upon a march, when they might be permitted to wear boots.
The following is Col. Enys' s description of
"Whilst I was at Montreal, procuring provisions and stores for the regiment, on the 16th September, 1786, a phenomenon took place which is worthy of mention, and was called the "Dark Sunday," from its happening on that day. The weather had for some time been extremely hot, and for two or three days very dark and close, but on that day more so than usual; so that about 9 or 10 o'clock in the forenoon all the cattle sought shelter under their sheds, and the poultry and birds of all kinds went to their roost as they do in the evening. About noon it was so dark that people could not do their common business. Before two, they were obliged to light candles in all the houses, when they began to be considerably alarmed, and crowded into the churches, where mass was performed. Various were the conjectures on the occasion: some expected an earthquake, whilst others conceived the end of the world was approaching, and 3 o'clock was expected to be the time at which it was to take place—which was confirmed by the darkness continuing to increase until that hour, when it was at its worst, and so dark was it that I and many others ran against each other in the street. After this time it became gradually lighter, which was again succeeded by a second darkness, but not quite so dark as the first, which after some time again cleared off; and again a third time became dark, which was again less than the former one, after which it became by degrees lighter, until the darkness was wholly dissipated, by which time the evening was closing in fast. Shortly after, the moon shone out with unusual splendour, and the streets were filled with people walking about for several hours, apparently very happy to find themselves still in existence. During this time I remember only one clap of thunder, and that not very loud; but there was a good deal of lightning playing round the mountains, and some very hard rain, which some of the priests said was full of ashes, but I cannot think there was anything remarkable in it, as I was out in some part of it, and being dressed in uniform, had there been any such thing, it must have been seen thereon."
The 65th Foot, having arrived at Niagara to relieve the 29th, the several detachments assembled at Carleton Island, and sailed thence, early in July, under command of Major Campbell, for Quebec, where, on arrival, orders were found for the regiment to be held in readiness to return to England. Before embarking, however, Admiral Sawyer's fleet arrived, and as one of the ships, H.M. "Pegasus," was commanded by Prince William Henry, afterwards King William IV., this visit was made the occasion of much gaiety in the way of balls and dinners; the Prince being entertained by each regiment in turn.
Landing in the character of a Prince of the Blood Royal, he was received by the Governor, and Council, all the principal clergy, and four officers who had been appointed to attend him during his stay ashore. One of the latter was Captain Hugh Dickson, 29th Foot, the flank companies of which formed the Prince's personal guard. On the 29th of August, a grand review of the troops in garrison and cantonments took place near Quebec. This was followed by a sham fight, in which the right wing of the army was commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Cotton, 31st Regiment ; the left by Major Campbell, of the 29th; whilst 10 Grenadier and Light Infantry companies, under Lieut.-Col. Hastings, 34th Foot, represented the enemy.
On the 5th of October, the regiment embarked on board the "General Elliott" and "Jane" transports. After a very boisterous passage, it landed at Portsmouth early the next month, and marched to Petersfield. Having remained here about three weeks, it proceeded to Alresford, Alton, and thence to Worcester, where it was quartered in the Tything of Whistones, and parishes of St. Clement, St. John, St. Michael, and St. Peter. Ever since the 29th received its county title, the recruiting company stationed at Worcester, had been very successful; but, strange as it may seem, at the time when the regiment was almost daily expected to land in England, the recruits were all ordered to join the 43rd Foot. This so offended the Worcestershire men, that the recruiting interest in the county, for the regiment, was lost from that time for many years.
* A canvas pack saddle stuffed with straw.— Grose.
† A covering of painted leather, for the saddle, bridle, &c.— Stocqueler.
¥ Benedict Arnold, who, as a private soldier, had in early life twice deserted from the British Army, received the rank of colonel in the insurgent forces early in the revolutionary struggle. This officer's subsequent treachery, and desertion from the colours under which he was serving, led to the ignominious death of Major Andre, 7th Fusiliers, as a spy.—E. B. de Fonblanque. Political and Military Episodes of General Burgoyne.
‡ Fonblanque — "Life of Burgoyne." Lord E. Fitz-Maurice —"Life of Lord Shelburne."
§ The garrison was commanded by General St. Clair.
∆ New York, 24th of January, 1781. List of British Officers of the Troops of Convention. Exchanged. 29th Foot, Captain Vigors; Lieuts. Battersby, Williams, and Monsell.—"Dispatches Quebec and Canada."
This I think should be 2, for the complement of Drummers and Fifers for the to 10 Service companies was but 20, and only the 2 Flank companies were employed under Burgoyne. The strength of the Flank companies of the 29th, 31st, 34th, and 53rd regiments, was on the 1st September, 1779, 5 Captns., 13 Subs., 1 Adjt., 1 Qr. Master, 1 Surgeon, 16 Sergts., 14 Drummers, 185 Rank and File. "Wanting to complete," 5 Sergts., 9 Drummers, 263 Rank and File.
** The issue of new accoutrements took place in 1789-90, a few months previous to the 29th being stationed at Windsor.
Captain K. V. Bacon, late of the Regiment, "whose grandfather, Captain Charles Williams, retired from the 29th Foot in 1790," states that he was told that the Regiment was permitted to retain its star pouch ornament through the influence of Queen Charlotte.
++See remarks of Inspecting Officer, 26th Aug., 1828 ; and Lord Strafford's letter of 2nd April, 1838.